The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) opened its annual Conference and Exhibition Sunday with news that 2009 will be a record year for wind energy development in the country, with new installed capacity from wind energy projects totaling 790 MW. By year's end, Canada is expected to have 3,159 MW of installed capacity – with wind developments operating in every province for the first time, according to CanWEA.
‘While the wind energy industry is poised for further growth in 2010, Canada's ability to fully capture its wind energy potential will depend in part on the actions of federal and provincial governments," says Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA. "The federal government must renew its commitment to support wind energy given the successful ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program is scheduled to meet its targets this fall – a year and a half ahead of schedule.’
Also at the conference, the steering committee of the Wind Technology Roadmap (WindTRM), an industry-led, government-supported initiative that has developed a long-term vision for the Canadian wind energy industry, presented Lisa Raitt, federal minister of natural resources, with recommendations to further develop wind power projects in Canada.
Recommendations include commitments of public funding, as well as improvements in approval processes and long-term planning to create a competitive environment for wind projects.
WindTRM also wants to improve communications with the public, the industry, financiers and government officials regarding wind issues. In addition, the group expressed support for demonstration projects that illustrate the economic and environmental feasibility of and returns in wind energy.
Transmission policy reform was also noted as another area where the wind energy sector needs some assistance so that current congestion can be relieved. Further, limited energy export capability to neighboring demand centers and a lack of cross-border transmission links impedes the formation of a competitive market, according to WindTRM's recommendations.
The steering committee explained that adoption of the recommendations could result in C$330 million annually in local tax and land-lease revenues for communities.